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By Robin Jovanovich

My father and I were driving down to the Florida Keys for what turned out to be the last time. It was a hard two-day winter night, because he was in charge of the radio and the road. His taste ran to classical, Big Bands, Frank Sinatra. While I went on to own every Frank Sinatra LP and learned to sing by listening to “the Chairman of the Board” in many a wee small hour, as a newly released teen, there was indeed going to be a revolution in my musical appreciation.

My generation wasn’t protesting all the time; we spent seven years enthralled by the evolution of a Liverpool rock band that had all our loving from 1963 to 1970. I sat grudgingly through many a Topo Gigio skit, or worse, on “The Ed Sullivan Show” — with my parents and grandparents, trying to see it their way — before getting back to where I belonged with the Beatles.

Paul McCartney wanted to hold my hand, promised to write home every day, and it was just a matter of time before he’d see the light and call me his belle. We could work it out.

I got into my first serious kerfuffle with my dad over the Beatles. When he said they’d never last, after listening to “She Loves You” for the 20th time in an hour, I erupted. “That shows you how stupid your generation (the greatest) truly is.” In those days, we weren’t allowed to describe anything or anyone as “stupid” or “boring.”

Things went downhill from there. In 1965 I had a friend, whose father gave her four seats to Shea Stadium, not to see the Mets, but to hear the boys from Liverpool, and I was one of the three Fab asked to join her. But I wasn’t allowed to go because my father worried I’d be trampled by the mob. Wasn’t it he who as a former Dodgers fan dragged me to see the worst team in baseball?

I gave him the silent treatment, which was cruel and unusual punishment for a father and daughter who were always close and knew what the other was thinking.

But I sort of met the Beatles, with a little help from my friends. They pooled their resources and sent a Polaroid (they went the way of VHS cassettes) of me, along with $5 (a lot of allowance money in those days), to some fan mail order company. And for my birthday, I received a gift I kept in one of the scrapbooks I assembled and still treasure. The photo of me “with” John, Paul, George, and Ringo proves that all you need is love.

By the time the Beatles broke up in 1970 I was in college and Frank Sinatra had a comeback.

Fast-forward to when I was at least 64, and my younger son happened to mention that one of his clients was Sir Paul’s stage manager.

A few weeks ago, my son called to ask if I wanted four tickets to see Sir Paul.

And for three non-stop hours, my husband and I and true friends were in mythical musical heaven. If my favorite 75-year-old guitarist, pianist, lyricist could stand for three hours, so could I. (Admittedly, the other reason I stood was that in order to see my knight, I had to look over Aaron Paul and Michele Monaghan’s bodyguard, who was built like a armored tank.)

Paul McCartney is not half the man he used to be. He can still electrify and edify, and I, along, with everyone else in the packed stadium knew every word of every song and we’re all still imagining the day the Beatles get back to where they still belong.

Just wish I could tell my dad all about the concert.

Back in the day

 

The author and her husband at Nassau Coliseum

Aaron Paul and Michelle Monaghan enjoying Sir Paul McCartney

For 65 years, Rye youngsters have waved their paintbrushes, brought a spooky sparkle to shop windows all over town, and gotten the whole community in the Halloween spirit.

Over the years, the event, long sponsored by Rye Recreation, has grown into something truly magical.

— Annette McLoughlin

By Paul Hicks

In a previous article, I reflected on how certain episodes in our nation’s history bore remarkable resemblances to a number of current news stories. In a similar vein, this article includes excerpts from “American Lion,” Jon Meachem’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Andrew Jackson, whose portrait Donald Trump chose to hang prominently in the Oval Office.

•“One of America’s most important and most controversial presidents, Andrew Jackson is also one of our least understood. Recalled mainly as the scourge of the Indians or as the hero of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, he is only dimly remembered in the public imagination, too far out of mind to be instructive or intriguing.

Yet…in the saga of the Jackson presidency, one marked by both democratic triumphs and racist tragedies, we can see the American character in formation and in action.”

•“By projecting personal strength, Jackson created a persona of power that propelled him forward throughout his life.”

• “Jackson has inspired some of the greatest men who have followed him in the White House-presidents who have sought to emulate his courage, to match his strength, and to wage and win the kinds of battles he won. Running at the head of a national party, fighting for a mandate from the people to govern in particular ways on particular issues, depending on a circle of insiders and advisers, mastering the media of the age to transmit a consistent message at a constant pace… in a Washington that is at once politically and personally charged are all features of the modern presidency that flowered in Jackson’s White House.”

• “In a message to Congress on February 22, 1836, Jackson quoted George Washington: ‘There is a rank due to the United States among nations which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness…If we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times, ready for war.’”

• “In his farewell address in March 1837, Jackson said that ‘the philanthropist will rejoice that the remnant of that ill-fated [Native American] race has been at length placed beyond the reach of injury or oppression, and that the paternal care of the General Government will hereafter watch over and protect them.’ Did Jackson believe this? Probably: The human capacity to convince oneself of something one wants to think true is virtually bottomless. Given facts such as Indian Removal, it has to be.”

• “When Harvard University bestowed an honorary degree on President Jackson in 1833, the man he had beaten for the White House, John Quincy Adams, a Harvard graduate, refused to come, telling the university’s president that ‘as myself an affectionate child of our Alma Mater, I would not be present to witness her disgrace in conferring her highest literary honors upon a barbarian who could not write a sentence of grammar and hardly could spell his own name.’”

• “Truman said of Jackson: ‘He wanted sincerely to look after the little fellow who had no pull, and that’s what a president is supposed to do.’ Also, Truman said it was Jackson who ‘helped once again to make it clear…that we were becoming a stronger and stronger country and wouldn’t always be a weak upstart nation that had to kowtow to the big European powers.’”

 

By Carolina Johnson

For Blaine Keogh and her husband Brian, there was no doubt, “Rye was always our choice,” said the mother of two and Mohawk Street resident since January. “I was just waiting for something in Indian Village to come on.” Growing up in the neighborhood from age 9 until she graduated from Rye High School in 2004, Blaine thought the tight community would be the right place for her children, Lilly and Griffin, to grow up.

Two doors down, Ali Walsh, a 2003 RHS graduate, moved in the summer of 2015. “Coming from the

By Lisa duBusc Miller

Every year, in late September, Rye becomes a veritable Olympic village. The weekend of September 23, athletes of all ages and strengths came out for the 34th Westchester Triathlon, which starts and ends at Rye Town Park.

There are so many heroes among the athletes and any number of awe-inspiring stories. The cause and the strong sense of community are what truly elevate this experience, year after year.

Phil Gormley, who chairs the event, is one of those heroes. He participated in that very first race in 1983 and has helped it grow in strength and numbers.

“I did it as a relay, and it was only a sprint, and it started at Lake Isle, in Eastchester,” Gormley recalled. “A buddy and I were competing against each other in the half-mile swim, and there was a 15-mile bike up to White Plains High School, followed by a 5K run that finished up with a lap around the school track. I said afterwards that anyone who does all three of those things is out of their mind!”

Well, fast-forward 34 years, and Phil is certainly singing a very different tune. He got the tri-bug after a friend dared him to do his first full triathlon in the brisk waters of Burlington’s Lake Champlain in 1989. And since then, Phil has done over 200, including 25 Westchester Triathlons. And he has spent the last 20 years volunteering for the Westchester Triathlon committee, not to mention chairing it for the better part of the last 15.

This year’s event, led by race managers Jason Twedt and Molly Byrnes, drew 1,800 participants, supported by 500 volunteers, led by the extraordinary efforts of Jim McDonough, and raised over $80,000 for six charities. (In the last 15 years, the Triathlon has raised over $1 million.

It also provided countless community service hours to local students and funding for local teams and clubs. Gormley enthusiastically noted, “We even had the Rye High Cheerleading Club on top of Claire’s Climb, thanks to Diana Vita of the Rye Y, and they really knocked it out of the park—it was incredible. They took the time to learn about Claire and really embraced it.” The Rye TRI club has 180 members today and provides such outstanding training, as well as so many volunteers.

Clearly, the event has come a long way from that lap around the high school track.

Back in 2002, there was a risk of the event not being held, but Gormley approached Rye Y Executive Director Gregg Howells and pulled them aboard, along with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as the two anchor charities. Since then, more charities have been added, including Challenged Athletes Foundation, RWB Veterans, MAC Angels Foundation (aka Friends of Claire), and a local favorite, Soul Ryeders.

“We got involved last year in honor of a Rye mom, Kate Muldowney,” said Sandy Samberg of Soul Ryeders. “Kate, diagnosed with cancer, was so appreciative of the special care she received from Mondays with Soul Ryeders, and when she passed away, her niece Kelly Vives and her mom Anne O’Brien, started Team Kate in 2016 to race in the triathlon while fundraising for us.”

Those funds helped create a program called Soul Healing, which offers massage, Reiki, meditation, reflexology, and yoga to cancer patients and their caregivers. The Triathlon now raises funds that go directly toward Sole Healing. Samberg added, “Kate would be so happy and proud to know that so many are able to receive this kind of healing care that she loved so much at her time of need.”

Denise Cypher, a key coach for Rye YMCA Tribe, along with Sally Braid, conducts triathlon training for women. As a longtime Westchester Tri participant and volunteer, she describes the race as a “fabulous community experience where you see the same faces every year, which demonstrates dedication to the race, but also new faces, indicating that the race is still growing.”

She admitted, “This year, six to eight competed in a half-Ironman. So much of this is instigated by the fact that we have the Olympics right here in Rye.”

The event pays tribute to Phil’s late sister, Claire Gormley Collier, with Claire’s Climb, a steep .4-mile ascent on the bike route that has its own timing, focus, and prizes. Claire’s lesson of “every day is a present!” and her “don’t give up!” motto continue to inspire. She sadly lost the fight to ALS in 2009 at age 46.

Those in need of a little inspiration and mind-body perspective while racing, don’t need to look much further than the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), which has been supported by the Westchester Triathlon for over 12 years. Doug Olson, Senior Development Director, Northeast Region, explains, “Support from the race helps provide adaptive sports clinics in everything from surfing to lacrosse to tennis to all — children, injured military veterans and first responders.”

Olson continued, “It’s all about getting back into the game, getting back to that starting line. The equipment needed is not usually covered by insurance, so we provide that funding and allow access to the sports these athletes love.”

Among this year’s 20 CAF athletes was an 11-year-old boy who is a bilateral leg amputee. It was his third triathlon, his first open water swim, and his first Zoot Westchester Triathlon.

One of the CAF Ambassador athletes, Rudy Garcia-Tolson (NoLegsNoLimits), a double leg, above the knee, amputee, competed on Sunday. At the dinner the night before the race, he explained, “I was born with a birth defect on his legs, my fingers were webbed, and my parents did not want to cut my legs off. But after 15 operations, I told my parents that it was OK to cut my legs off because I wanted to be normal, and do what the other kids were doing.”

Soon after being fitted with prosthetics, Garcia-Tolson started playing soccer, walking home from school, and learning how to ride a bike. Then he became a four-time Paralympic athlete, and a gold and silver medalist.

On Playland Beach, Gormley reports, “Rudy pulled himself all the way down the beach to the waterfront and got in the water with everyone else—no special treatment. And that is the beauty of CAF, they get ‘em back in the game by giving them prosthetics and letting them race and be ambassadors.”

When not racing, Rudy teaches swimming to disabled and able-bodied athletes in Westchester and New York City.

Keiron McCammon, another CAF Ambassador athlete, and arm amputee, was paragliding in Colombia in 2006 hit power lines on his landing. He went from a pretty regular life to just surviving. Today Keiron’s motto is “I’ve gone from surviving to STRIVING.” Keiron has done several Westchester Triathlons, three Ironmen and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2016.

Sarah Reinertsen, another CAF athlete, and the first woman leg amputee to complete Ironman Kona in Hawaii with a prosthetic, traveled from California to attend this year’s Zoot Triathlon.

As a past Triathlon participant and as a swim course volunteer again this year, I feel compelled to add that I had the privilege of watching the first swimmers cut through the silent warm water at sunrise —as if it were glass. Then the cheering began, by swim angels and those on SUP’s and kayaks along the course. As the encouragement rose, so did the courage and confidence, radiating to the point that I almost expected fish to leap out of Long Island Sound, high on positive energy.

And that buddy of Phil’s who swam against him in Lake Isle in 1983? Well his name is Luke Dougherty and he was at this year’s race.

So was Cary Clark, another friend from the 1983 relay, who flew in from Colorado to participate, along with his 12-year-old daughter, Cassidy. Cassidy participated in the Kids Triathlon on Saturday, and then cheered Phil on beside the transition area on Sunday. She wore the Friends of Claire necklace that Phil had given her years before.

 

Judge Joseph Latwin

At the Annual Meeting of the New York State Association of City Court Judges held in Skaneateles, N.Y. on September 26, the Association unanimously elected the <<Hon. Joseph Latwin>> as its President-Elect. The Association is composed of approximately 171 City Court Judges from the 62 City Courts outside of the City of New York.

 

Ingraham Taylor

The Port Chester/Rye NAACP is honoring <<Ingraham Taylor>> at its 9th Annual Robert S. Brown/M. Paul Redd Freedom Fund Luncheon on October 14 from 12-4 at the Copacabana Restaurant in Port Chester.

Founder and president of Hope LLC (Helping Others Prepare for Excellence), Mrs. Taylor is being recognized for her leadership role as chair of Westchester NAACP-ACT-SO (Academic, Cultural, Technical, and Scientific Olympics), which aims to strengthen the skills of and opportunities for underserved minority high school students.

The Freedom Fund Award is named in honor of Robert Brown, one of the founders of the Port Chester Carver Center, and Paul Redd, who was instrumental in establishing the Black Democrats of Westchester and started a pre-apprenticeship training program for minorities in White Plains. Both men were longtime members of the NAACP.

For reservations, call Doris Reavis at 937-6613.